Finally, some peace and quiet, and a chance to catch up with all you out there. The last month has been absolutely crazy with my visiting not just two countries but a principality as well.
“What’s that?” you say. Yes, a principality. I have been to a place that isn’t important enough to be a kingdom – it just gets a prince. What is even worse this isn’t even a young and handsome prince, the guy is positively ancient!
I had better explain. As you know I am basically a kind of semi Scandiwegian – (at least that is what my grandfather calls us). I spend most of my year in Sweden and then go on flying visits to my other country, Britain, a few times a year to check on how the grandparents are doing over there.
So at the beginning of July I headed over there with my sister to make sure that GranJan and Granddad were still coming along nicely in their tasks of learning how to look after us, the latest generation.
And to be fair they aren’t doing too badly. Fortunately I have been able to persuade them to visit us regularly as well and so I do keep quite a close eye on them. GranJan is the one I worry about most because she has an unfortunate idea that she knows best.
Now clearly this could be a problem if I let her have her way entirely, but thank goodness she is still sufficiently under my spell so that I am able to correct the worst of her bad habits. As soon as we arrived at their house I knew things were going to be OK. All it took was one of my special smiles and she was back under control once again.
All grandparents are pretty much like putty in our hands but grand mothers in particular need some extra work. After all they are the ones who will become our greatest allies in the battle to get our way – especially when mum and dad think they know better.
The summer has been very busy though and I didn’t get to work fully on GranJan immediately because we only stayed overnight before going off to this prince’s country. Now I don’t mind that because we got to play on the beach and make sandcastles and look for crabs and fish, but it did mean that my time with GranJan was more limited than I would have liked.
Fortunately they came down to join us after a couple of days and so I was able to get GranJan back into her reading mode. She really knows how to tell a story well and she puts an awful lot of effort into all the stories, fortunately I have also been able to work on her librarian skills and she has created a huge library of new books for me.
We spent the start of each morning with some of my favourites, including Tiddler – a great book if you want to find out how good your granny is at reading, and one that has a fabulous ending too. Even better it takes about ten minutes or more and so it is great bonding time.
I will admit that granddad was less good at this, but then he has other talents and skills that I make use of. I will tell you more about that later and for now I will concentrate on GranJan and her duties.
Apart from being jolly good at reading she is also an ace cook. Her shepherds pie is first class and she has even branched out and made loads of little taster pots of things for my little sister. Quite honestly I don’t think that there are many young people like me and my sister who have managed to train their grandma into being their own personal chef in quite the way we have succeeded.
The absolutely brilliant thing of this holiday was that I managed to arrange things so that I got both the grandparents on their own without my parents around at all. I got time in Wales when I was able to focus on them without interruption and oh boy did that pay off. I had fish and chips and ice cream. I was able to run around on the beach for hours and they let me watch stuff on the TV before bedtime. All the kind of thing that is so much more difficult to do when mum and dad and my sister are around. And what’s even better, GranJan felt kind of guilty about it, so it is our little secret. That kind of thing is always useful to keep if ever any blackmailing is needed.
As I have said all along, training grandparents is an art and you cannot just let it fall by the wayside. After all you are going to be able to call on them for quite some time, so don’t slack in the early years training, you will regret it later on I promise you.
My little sister Liv is getting up to speed in the training programme as well. I have already coached her in the big smile and she uses that to devastating effect on both of the old ones. I mean it is amazing that she cannot even speak a single word yet and she has them both eating out of her hand by just smiling and gurgling a little.
Sadly I have run out of time today, but I will carry on soon and let you know some tip top tips on how to keep your grandparents in good shape even when you don’t see them for a short while! I promise you these are dynamite, so make sure that you don’t let older people see them. OK!